August 15 at the Solheim Cup

The weather has been great here this week! No rain, or even the threat of rain. It’s been hot and sunny. Hope all the flatlanders that have joined us here in Parker have used their sunscreen! I saw some pretty red faces yesterday morning at the course.

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The ladies set off on their practice rounds about 9:30 yesterday. The galleries followed like a brightly colored waterfall. I hung out on the ropes between the 3rd and 4th holes, getting autographs and taking some photos of the players. Michelle Wie and Brittney Lang were wearing red, white, and blue leggings. Not a bad look, but definitely one that looked odd from far away.

Hole #3 at the Colorado Golf Club has an interesting approach – like most of the holes on this course. The green is guarded by an arroyo across the front and around to the right. The green slopes into the arroyo, so if the ball doesn’t get to the middle of the green, it definitely will roll back into the weeds. Each lady took a couple of shots to get this one right!

The crowds were respectful. The players were generous with signing anything put in front of them. Since it’s not likely you’ll get much of a chance to get anything signed in the next few days, folks were really trying to get all the players signatures on the tee flags, visors, and hats.

I left around 11:30 and returned for the opening ceremonies in the evening. We got there an hour before the ceremony was set to start and the venue looked full already. What a great crowd! Patti Sheehan was dancing around and signing at the back of the seating area. It was quite a party through the event, with raucous cheers when the players were introduced. Meg Mallon and Liselotte Neumann gave great speeches that revved up the crowds.

We slipped out before the other thousands and managed to get back to the parking lot before the throngs arrived. We even talked about going to Germany for the next Solheim Cup. We’ll have to see about that.

I have tickets for tomorrow. Watching the teams today, Europe is up so far. Yikes! Go USA!

Lexi Thompson wins at the Dubai Ladies Masters

Earlier this year there was a bit of a kerfuffle about Lexi Thompson joining the LPGA Tour a bit earlier than her 18th birthday. This weekend she again showed that decision is the correct one. At age 16, Lexi is the youngest winner on the European Ladies Tour with a 5-shot under 67 at the Dubai Ladies Masters.

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She steadily played her game as the South African Lee-Anne Pace came in second at 69, with less than stellar putting on the back nine. Lexi won by four strokes for her first professional win across the Atlantic. Sophie Gustafson of Sweden was third, and four players tied for fourth. Michelle Wie started the final day 5 shots behind the leader, but ended the day in 12th place. Wie sent a congratulatory tweet and mentioned that Lexi will be a “force to be reckoned with” in the future.

Congratulations to Lexi. She’s been working hard and that work is paying off. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders, and her father seems to be helping her keep things in perspective. Hopefully Lexi will be able to be a teenager as well as a world class golfer. What do you think?

Lexi Thompson is officially a member of the LPGA

On Friday, September 30, Commissioner Mike Wahn granted Lexi Thompson’s petition for membership in the LPGA. The LPGA rules state that members need to be at least 18 years old to join the tour, though obviously exceptions can be made. Thompson, 16, submitted a petition for membership based on her tour win at the Navistar LPGA Classic earlier in September. She’ll be postponing her official start date on the tour until 2012, to start as a rookie. She’ll turn 17 in February.

Thompson is the youngest member ever to join the tour. Michelle Wie played tournaments when she was 15, but didn’t officially join the tour until 3 years later, after finishing Q school. Morgan Pressel, Aree Song, and Jessica Korda were granted waivers when they were 17, though they were close to their 18th birthdays and the high school educations complete or nearly so.

There is no doubt that Lexi Thompson is talented and she can compete on the highest professional level. She’s been home-schooled, and is planning to finish and graduate while also playing golf. I think that the tour should require kids to finish high school prior to starting the tour as a professional. That would insure that these ladies would have a basic education – golf is not forever.

The LPGA has been struggling lately with the loss of sponsors and uneven management. A new star certainly can’t hurt the ratings and attendance at LPGA events. Is joining the tour better for Lexi or better for the LPGA?
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